What Is a Base Flood Elevation?

What Is a Base Flood Elevation?

When hunting for a waterfront property, knowing the base flood elevation comes in handy.

You might be searching for land on which to build a home in Maryland, and you’d like that land to have water access or water views. You might want to be in a neighborhood with water activity amenities within walking distance. In central Maryland, you have plenty of options. However, if you are building from scratch, the land’s elevation will matter. What is a base flood elevation, and how does it apply to you?

What Is a Base Flood Elevation?

Base flood elevation (BFE) is the anticipated flood water level in any given area. The base flood elevation matters most when the area is a flood zone, an “area that will be inundated by the flood event having a 1-percent chance of being equaled or exceeded in any given year,” according to FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency.) Another name for a flood zone is a 100-year flood plain or a base flood area. Who determines the flood zones and any given area’s base flood elevation? 

FEMA’s Flood Maps 

FEMA does. FEMA’s flood maps show where flood areas are in your location and which areas rise above the flood zones (called 500-year flood plains.) Here is the link to Maryland’s flood map. Using this tool, you can see how your land site of interest compares to the anticipated base flood elevation.

Flood Insurance

If you live in a flood zone, flood insurance is mandatory. FEMA’s flood maps change periodically also, so even if you live directly outside the flood zone, FEMA could decide that you now live in a flood zone and must pay for flood insurance. Consider the annual costs of flood insurance, along with the cost of land, custom home construction, and taxes. 

Building a House in a Flood Zone

Is it worth building a house in a flood zone? With today’s effective construction techniques, absolutely! Shore-Line Construction has many options for you, including using flood-proof exterior materials and an inverted house plan. If you are searching for land, we can help you find the perfect homesite, also.


At Shore-Line Construction, we know that your home is a reflection of you. That’s why we strive to make each home we build as beautiful as the family who will live there. We work with each of our clients to design a home that fits their needs. The end result is a durable, energy-efficient custom home that the family will enjoy for generations to come. Shore-Line Construction has been serving our customers for over 25 years, and we look forward to the opportunity to help you!

If you’re interested in learning more about what Shore-Line Construction can do for you, check out our website or give us a call at 410-574-6623. Keep up with all of the latest news by following our blog and social media pages on Facebook, YouTube, Pinterest, and Houzz!

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